And if you didn’t follow our counsel, no biggie, but I bet you’ll start thinking about fall beers soon.
Regardless of which camp you fall into we took it upon ourselves to compile a handy, dandy guide of our favorites for Fall.
Oktoberfests/Marzen’s: It’s the style minds most likely drift to first as temperature begin to cool. According to Beer Advocate’s style guide they were traditionally brewed in the spring to be drank in the fall.
“Before refrigeration, it was nearly impossible to brew beer in the summer due to the hot weather and bacterial infections. Brewing ended with the coming of spring, and began again in the fall. Most were brewed in March (Märzen). These brews were kept in cold storage over the spring and summer months, or brewed at a higher gravity, so theyd keep. Märzenbier is full-bodied, rich, toasty, typically dark copper in color with a medium to high alcohol content.”
We like our Oktoberfest’s a little sweet with a mildly hoppy finish. Great Lakes’ Oktoberfest, Schlafly’s Oktoberfest and a hefty litre stein of Spaten’s Oktoberfestbier are among our favorites.
Pumpkin Beers: The only style that may be more Fall than the Oktoberfest, depending on who you ask. Southern Tier’s Pumking is a hands down favorite but there are so many to choose from; Dogfish Head Punkin, Schlafly Pumpkin and Heavy Seas Great’er Pumpkin (bourbon barrel aged pumpkin beer) just to name a few.
Porter: Baltic or American – it doesn’t matter – we love them all.
We celebrate everything Founders Porter this time of year. According to Karl:
“It’s far and away the most perfect porter in the world.”
And Andrew can’t stop praising Revolution’s Eugene Porter.
Incredible, malty, huge porter. And it’s local! Seriously, you cannot go wrong with this porter. Though, if you are looking for something…bigger…try the Hugene Porter. It’s an Imperial Porter sitting at about 10% ABV. This one is seriously a sipper.
Schwarzbier: Perfect for a slightly warmer than normal Fall day, the Schwarzbier – or black bier – drinks with the lightness of a lager but with the flavor profile of a porter.
Keep your eyes peeled for Sprecher’s Black Bavarian and don’t be afraid to slip into the Huettenbar in Lincoln Square for a Kostritzer or a Hirter.
Cider: It’s hard to beat a crisp cider in the fall but why not take it up a notch and try Vander Mill’s Totally Roasted? It’s a go-to for Andrew.
“The Totally Roasted is perfect for when the weather starts to turn – it’s packed full of pecans, vanilla and cinnamon. A great fall beer.”
Brown Ale: Sweet, malty, cozy and comforting; the Brown Ale may not be on top of many lists. In fact, we think this may be one of the most overlooked styles in any season.
Flossmoor Station’s Pullman Brown, brewed with maple syrup, is an all-star in our books.
If you like your browns a bit hoppy try Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale or Sierra Nevada’s Tumbler. And if you prefer them a bit sweeter than Short’s Bellaire Brown and Big Sky’s Moose Drool will be right up your alley.
And while you can’t get this yet, Andrew suggests keeping Blue Nose’s Brown on your radar.
“It’s one of the best brown ales I’ve ever had. It tastes like Sunday afternoon football, without the sweat and shoulder pads.”
Scotch Ale: Overt notes of dark fruit and booze make the Scotch Ale, or Scottish Ale, perfect for a brisk fall evening.
Harvest Ales: No, we don’t mean Goose Island’s Harvest Ale – which is actually an ESB – we mean American IPA’s brewed with freshly harvested hops. They’re also known as Wet Hopped IPA’s.
Using fresh hops gives an already hoppy style an extra punch. Expect a sticky, more resin-y beer, with bold hop flavors.
Once the Wet Hopped IPA’s hit store shelves, we can’t snatch them up fast enough. Two Brothers Heavy Handed is brewed using different hops strains for each batch and is a mainstay in our fridges as is Founders Harvest Ale.
Port Brewing’s High Tide and Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest Wet Hop Ale receive honorable mention.
ESB: Extra Special Bitter or Extra Strong Bitter; despite its name usually isn’t all that bitter. Instead, the style showcases a mild sweetness, mild hops and a touch of fruity esters. Quite balanced.
There you have it, a not-at-all definite guide to Fall beers. But, it’s something to get you started as you stock your fridge in preparation for those crisp, cool days of Fall.